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  • Science Ticker

    Once-stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting rapidly

    A once-steadfast group of Antarctic glaciers has nosedived into rapid decline.

    Glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula remained roughly stable between 2003 and 2009. New satellite observations reveal that the region suddenly destabilized in 2009 and is now shedding around 56 billion metric tons of ice each year, enough water to raise sea levels by roughly 0.16 millimeters.


    05/21/2015 - 14:00 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Asteroids boiled young Earth’s oceans, remnant rocks suggest

    Asteroid impacts around 3.3 billion years ago may have created hell on Earth.

    Rocks left over from Earth’s adolescence suggest that giant impacts boiled the oceans billions of years ago, lowering the global sea level by tens of meters. The huge amounts of energy released during the impacts increased air temperatures to more than 500° Celsius for weeks and above water’s boiling point for...

    05/15/2015 - 07:00 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Another strong quake strikes Nepal

    A magnitude 7.3 earthquake rattled eastern Nepal near Mount Everest on May 12, hitting just 17 days after one that killed more than 8,000 people in the region. The latest quake is the largest aftershock to date of the April 25 Nepal earthquake, which struck around 150 kilometers to the west, the U.S. Geological Survey...

    05/12/2015 - 13:13 Earth
  • News

    Explanation for G’s imprecision stumbles

    Tiny changes in Earth’s rotation rate could explain physicists’ inability to precisely measure a key fundamental constant of nature, a study in the April EPL proposes. Physicists say the idea would be extremely compelling — if not for some confusion with dates that probably derails the findings.

    A graph in the paper shows that the measured values of Newton’s gravitational...

    04/30/2015 - 16:23 Physics, Earth
  • News

    Cosmic rays illuminate lightning

    High-speed particles from space are helping to unravel a high-voltage mystery in the clouds.

    Astronomers have determined the strength of electric fields in thunderclouds by detecting the radio wave signature of cosmic ray particles striking the atmosphere. Reported April 24 in Physical Review Letters, the research...

    04/29/2015 - 12:00 Earth, Particle Physics
  • News

    Stronger quakes could strike other segments of Nepal fault

    The April 25 earthquake that devastated Nepal, killing thousands, isn’t the end of seismic hazards in the region. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake relieved pent-up stress along just one segment of the tectonic plate boundary between India and the rest of Asia. Even larger quakes could strike to the west and in nearby Bhutan to the east, scientists warn.

    Where and how intensely future...

    04/28/2015 - 12:07 Earth
  • News

    Hidden water found deep beneath Antarctica desert valley

    The underside of Antarctica’s dry valleys isn’t so dry after all.

    Researchers have discovered extensive saltwater basins more than 100 meters beneath the permafrost, glaciers and frozen lakes that cover one of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Scientists had previously believed this underground realm was hard, frozen earth. The newly discovered groundwater may have been sealed off for millions of...

    04/28/2015 - 11:00 Earth, Microbes
  • News in Brief

    Massive magma pool found deep below Yellowstone

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    Every day, the supervolcano lurking under Yellowstone National Park belches up 45,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide — much more than could be produced by the known magma chamber that lies just below the surface. Now, scientists have spotted a source of the excess gas, and it’s a doozy. They’ve discovered a magma pool containing enough hot rock to fill...

    04/23/2015 - 14:00 Earth
  • Editor's Note

    Driving Curiosity to discovery

    Clara Ma, who in 2009 won an essay contest to name NASA’s new Mars rover, named it Curiosity. “Curiosity,” the young student wrote, “is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind....

    04/22/2015 - 09:00 Astrobiology, Climate, Genetics, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    The moon is about as old as we thought it was

    Many, many moons ago, a proto-planet the size of Mars slammed into early Earth. In its wake, the collision left a planetary disk that formed the moon and sent bits of proto-planet flying into our solar system’s main asteroid belt. The collision occurred around 4.47 billion years ago, researchers report in the April 17 ...

    04/17/2015 - 06:00 Planetary Science, Earth